Suffolk PCT pays off millions in debt

SUFFOLK health bosses are celebrating today after the county's Primary Care Trust (PCT) paid off all its historic debt.Suffolk PCT paid off £18.9m during 2007/08 and paid back the final £12m of debt this month.

SUFFOLK health bosses are celebrating today after the county's Primary Care Trust (PCT) paid off all its historic debt.

Suffolk PCT paid off £18.9m during 2007/08 and paid back the final £12m of debt this month.

It means it is now free to invest around £17m in extending and improving services in 2008/09.

These will include developing education programmes for people with long-term conditions, improving access to community health services and increasing talking therapies to help people with depression and anxiety.

Julian Herbert, Suffolk PCT's director of performance, said: “We have worked really hard to reduce the debt, looking at every area of expenditure within the PCT. Suffolk PCT staff and those across the NHS organisations have put in an incredible effort in what have been difficult times to achieve this.

“Our improved efficiency on spending has been helped by using generic drugs instead of more expensive branded medication, helping people avoid long-term stays in hospital and merging PCTs.

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“While working to turn around our financial position we, and our partner organisations, have still delivered good quality healthcare to the people of Suffolk. We have performed well against national targets to reduce: waiting times from referral to treatment, in accident and emergency and for diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

“Now we can build on our good work to make further improvements in people's health and preventing ill health.”

Alastair McWhirter, chairman of Suffolk PCT, said: “I am delighted with the progress the PCT has made since we were established in October 2006. The financial challenge was huge but through the commitment and hard work of PCT staff and our partners in the NHS we have put the debt behind us and seen improvements in performance.

“We can start the new financial year with confidence and in a strong position from which to deliver further improvements and investment in services.”

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